I am excited to announce today that we have accepted an offer to join Google. I’d like to share some information about what this means for Waze.
Larry Page, Brian McClendon and the Google Maps teams have been following our progress closely and are excited about what we’ve accomplished. They share our vision of a global mapping service, updated in real time by local communities, and wish to help us accelerate. We are excited about the prospect of working with the Google Maps team to enhance our search capabilities and to join them in their ongoing efforts to build the best map of the world.
Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same. The same Waze people will continue to collaborate with you, and we will continue to innovate our product and services, making them more social, functional and helpful for everyday drivers. Our employees, managers, founders and I are all committed to our vision for many years to come.
Why not stay completely independent? We asked ourselves: “Will Waze still be a fun project to participate in, and a fun place to work, as a stand-alone public company?” Choosing the path of an IPO often shifts attention to bankers, lawyers and the happiness of Wall Street, and we decided we’d rather spend our time with you, the Waze community. Google is committed to help us achieve our common goal and provide us with the independence and resources we need to succeed. We evaluated many options and believe Google is the best partner for Waze, our map editors, area managers, champs and nearly 50 million Wazers globally.
Together, we can accelerate our mission to outsmart traffic. We will continue to make a real impact on drivers globally, helping them save time and money while making everyone’s daily commute a bit more efficient and fun.
So, it’s back to work for us with some great new colleagues and resources to enhance our project. Thank you for your participation in shaping Waze to what it is today, and we look forward to continuing to build out Waze together with you.
Maps can change in an instant. Unpredictable events such as road closures, oil spills and even natural disasters can seriously affect the roads causing drivers confusion, delays and frustration.
Luckily, Waze has a bustling community of drivers and map editors who keep the Waze map updated to reflect real-time road conditions.
Just last month, we saw two examples of how Waze’s map editing community acted quickly to help drivers get around messy conditions due to a collapsed bridge in Washington State and the Tornadoes which struck in Oklahoma.
Collapsed I-5 Bridge. Image credit to WSDOT
The I-5 bridge collapses
Waze map editor Alan Akins
On May 23, at 7:00pm PDT, an entire section of the heavily travelled I-5 bridge collapsed into the Skagit River in Washington State, about 60 miles north of Seattle. As it turns out, there happened to be a Wazer nearby who promptly reported the incident. Within minutes, veteran Waze map editor and country manager AlanAkinsreceived the alert and quickly went to work.
Before the day was done, the Waze map had been updated and Wazers were being routed around the collapsed bridge. The I-5 Bridge is scheduled to re-open again sometime in mid-June. We’re confident that Alan will be ready to update the Waze map when it does.
Tornadoes in Oklahoma
Waze map editor Jared Peacock
Last month also saw devastating tornadoes strike Oklahoma. In response, veteran map editor and country manager Jared Peacock began updating the map in a very clever way.
First, he manipulated the unsafe roads on the Waze map editor so that people driving through the city would be routed around them, but also so that first responders and people living in the area could be routed on the perilous roads.
In addition, he set up landmarks on the map demarcating dangerous areas where he warned drivers to exercise caution.
In Jared’s words: “I did not want to disconnect or delete roads because I felt people would still need them for navigation and orientation purposes. The damage was so severe in areas that it looked like empty fields where neighborhoods once were so people needed a sense of direction through the map.”
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge Alan and Jared for their extraordinary work in making the roads a little safer and easier to navigate during times of crisis.
Just in time for summer, we’ve cooked up an awesome new version that’s going to help Wazers get to events with ease and in style. Welcome to Waze version 3.7! Not only is this version one of the most social that we’ve done to date, but it also contains multiple feature requests, bug fixes and lots of optimization. So without further ado, here are some fantastic features you can look for in the all new Waze version 3.7.
Facebook Event Integration
When Facebook connected, Facebook events will automatically appear in Wazers’ navigation lists shortly before the event is slated to begin. When ready to go, Wazers simply need to tap on the event and they will be routed there without any need to know the address before hand.
See friends driving to the same event
When headed to an event or destination, Wazers will also see their friends headed to the same place. Friends will appear on a vertical transparent bar on the right side of map in the order in which they are expected to arrive at the event. Tapping on the bar will give a more detailed view of each friend’s ETA to the event.
Tons of other features you’ll love
We’ve packed this version with lots of other features, improvements and design changes that we think will make Waze even better. Here are some of the highlights:
Real time and offline “beep beeps” at friends.
Exclusive moods for map editors – T. Rex, robot and 8-bit.
Redesigned, sleeker pop-up alerts.
Inbox has moved to the main menu.
New 3-state mute button in the main menu (mute, alerts only & on).
Foursquare check in available from report menu.
Lock up north added to settings.
Support for JVC App Link Mode” for compatible in-dash car audio receivers.
Multiple fixes and optimization and more!
Want to learn more about Waze 3.7? Check out the video below to get a better feel for how Waze 3.7 will work. Excited yet? Great! Download and upgrade now to version 3.7. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think!
In the United States Memorial Day (Monday) and the previous weekend is one of the heaviest days of the year to hit the road. Waze just released our analysis of 2013 Memorial Weekend road conditions and here’s what we found:
Weekend getaways and day trips are tops: Number of cars on road increased 7.5% with a high of 12% on Sunday
Saturday was made for the long haul: Wazers made their longest drives (by distance) on Saturday, at an average of 15-20% longer in both distance and time spent in car than a non-holiday weekend
No significant increase in accidents or road hazards reported nationwide, despite the increase in cars on the road
A special shoutout to the state of Florida, who had the most new Wazers download and drive over the weekend! Thanks for helping everyone get around!!
We also saw the highest number of police on Friday, May 24 than on any day in recent history…. You can find more interesting info in our press release.
Those of you who enjoyed the long weekend – where’d you go and what did you do? Did Waze save the day? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.
Waze is honored to be named Best Connected Product of the 2013 Webby Awards. Last night, the winners of this year’s Webbys celebrated, tweeted, hashtagged and instagrammed the night away at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The food was good. The company was awesome. Celebrity sightings were plentiful. It was a blast!
You can watch the show or individual acceptance speeches here, right from the comfort of your couch! In the tradition of the Webbys, winners are limited to just 5 words to say thanks. Can you guess ours?
Click here to watch Wazer Andy Ellwood, Sr. Director of Business Development, accept our Webby. We happily share this win with all of you, so, thanks!
We’ve said it before, but one of our favorite things here at Waze is hearing user stories about how Waze helps people in their day-to-day lives. Today we were treated to yet another one of those amazing stories.
There are many of you still out on the roads right now. We can only imagine how difficult this time is. You are deeply in our thoughts. We are busy closing the roads as you tell us how things are changing. All Wazers can also add temporary closures as you encounter to help other wazers and responders get around.
Additionally, we have added the Open Red Cross shelters to our map so you can navigate easily if the need arises. Just look for these symbols on the map but of course be safe and stay off the roads as possible.
If you are in Oklahoma and have more shelters and aid centers you think we should add or additional roads you need help closing, please list them here.
Every day we’re amazed at the stories we hear about how Waze came through in a crunch.
In the past several months, we’ve heard how Waze has guided women in labor to the hospital with the best route. Waze has also allowed parents to get to their children’s performances in time and even helped drivers avoid some big accidents in the nick of time. These stories make us feel pretty great and we want to hear more!
That’s why we’re announcing a new Waze initiative called Waze User Stories. Here’s how it works:
At the end of the month, we’ll pick a couple of stories we find particularly inspiring and feature them on our blog. We’ll even send the winners some swag for our favorite entries.
So how about it Wazers? Got a great story about how Waze helped you out on the road or in life? We wanna hear it! Also, feel free to send any accompanying pictures to email@example.com.
And now the fine print…
This past weekend, 30 veteran country and area managers from both Europe and South America convened in Prague, Czech Republic for a full day of Waze related presentations, discussion and QA.
Travelling from Waze HQ to attend the meetup were Co-Founders Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar as well as Head of Community and Support Chen Barshai. Also joining were community and product managers Ohad, Shirli, Ori and Adrian.
Presentations given by the Waze team included the topics of the map editor, community, social media and of course some things we have planned for the future.
Not to be outdone, the community planned some presentations of their own on issues ranging from what it’s like to be a baby Wazer, gamification, search and improved tools for area management.
All in all it was a great weekend spent with a dedicated and passionate community of long time expert Wazers.
We’d also like to send a special shout out to Zirland for meeting participants at the airport and ensuring a soft landing in Prague with train tickets and SIM cards.
Today the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences announced the winners of the 2013 Webbys, the “highest honor on the Web.” Not only was Waze a nominee for Best Use of GPS Technology, but we won as Best Connected Product! We’d like to congratulate our co-nominees too, including Nike+ FuelBand and tshirtOS.
The seal makes it official. Can’t wait to bring the trophy home!
The category of “Connected Product” is a special one for Waze. Simply put, a connected product is any tangible good that integrates the Web to work the best it can. The list of eligible candidates is huge! Our Webby win showcases what Wazers already know; Waze is more than just a GPS service. We’re built on the social graph, using the power of the driving community (and the Web) to help other local drivers and, at a larger scale, build maps around the world.
Tune in here and watch the Waze team accept our trophy at the Webby Awards ceremony on May 22, hosted by Patton Oswalt. Acceptance speeches are limited to exactly five words – what should we say?